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The traditional method of making knives is to forge the knife out of steel, which can be a very labor-intensive process, especially to produce a knife that has a very thin blade. The development in technology and metal cutting techniques has resulted in the production of stamped knives that are available today. If you are an owner of a knife that was manufactured in this way, you may wonder if it is possible for you to sharpen this knife.
A stamped knife can be sharpened. It is a little more difficult to sharpen these knives on a whetstone because of the flexibility of the blade, but it is possible. Sharpening a stamped knife using other methods such as sharpening systems or electric sharpeners is as easy as on any other knife.
Stamped knives are often mass produces knives, which gives them certain characteristics that are different from forged knives. Some of the differences between the two manufacturing methods can result in differences in the way the knife gets sharpened. Let’s take a look at the differences and if it is possible for you to sharpen your stamped knife.
What Is A Stamped Knife?
A stamped knife is a knife that is produced from a different method to forging a knife. Essentially, a stamped knife is produced from a sheet of steel, usually stainless steel.
The sheet of stainless steel is fed through a machine that has a die in it that was designed to the shape of the required knife.
The machine that houses the die is, for all intents and purposes, and large stamping machine. The die is stamped with a large amount of force onto the sheet of stainless steel, which cuts the shape of the knife out of the sheet.
The process can be likened to an automated cookie cutter that cuts out the same design knife from sheets of steel. This method of knife making has led to the advent of mass-produced kitchen knives on the market.
When a different design knife is required, a new die is formed in the new shape and placed into the stamping machine. The computerized machine can stamp out thousands of knives in the new shape in a relatively short time.
Once the knife shape has been stamped from the sheet of steel, the shape is refined on a grinder, handles are put on the knife, and it is factory sharpened.
What Are The Features Of A Stamped Knife?
The process of stamping a knife from a sheet of steel allows for knives to be made fast but also to be made from thinner steel.
This has both advantages and disadvantages for the resulting knife. A forged knife undergoes a process of heating and hammering, and cooling, which imparts certain characteristics of toughness and hardness to the steel of the knife.
Because stamped knives do not go through this process, the steel is generally not as hard as that of a forged knife.
The other aspect of a stamped knife is that the blade is generally more flexible than that of a forged knife, and while it can be sharpened to the same level of sharpness, it does not hold its edge for as long as a forged blade.
One of the major advantaged of stamped knives is the price. Because the manufacture of these knives is automated and can be produced at a much faster rate, the final product is significantly cheaper than a similar forged knife.
This has resulted in the growing popularity of these knives, especially when they are more readily available and less of a burden on the wallet.
TIP: Did you know that people use aluminium foil for knife sharpening? It is not the best way to sharpen a knife but it can be possible. Find out more in the article below:
Can A Stamped Knife Be Sharpened?
A stamped knife can certainly be sharpened, and it is possible for you to do the sharpening yourself at home.
Stamped knives have gained a reputation for being difficult to sharpen, and that is partially true. These knives are more difficult to sharpen on whetstones because of the flexibility of the blade.
Because the blade flexes easily, it is not possible to apply the same pressure to the blade when sharpening it on a whetstone as you would be able to with a forged blade.
While this may make the sharpening process of a stamped knife a little slower and a little more difficult, it does not make it impossible.
The reason that the process will take longer on a whetstone is that you have to apply less pressure to prevent the blade from flexing during the sharpening stroke. Less pressure means less material is being removed from the edge of the blade with each stroke.
Thus, the process of sharpening a stamped knife on a whetstone will take longer than that of a forged blade. Even though the process takes longer, the knife will still be razor-sharp and fit for duty in your kitchen at the end of the process.
What Is The Best Way To Sharpen A Stamped Knife?
If sharpening your stamped knife on a whetstone does not sound like something you would like to take on, then what would be the best way to keep your stamped knife sharp and effective in the kitchen.
There are quite a few sharpening systems available on the market that sharpen knives in various ways. With some, you clamp the knife securely and use sharpening stones to go across the blade rather than pulling the blade across the stones. An example of this is the Lansky Professional Sharpening System (Amazon link).
There are other systems where you pull the knife across sharpening rods that are angled correctly and do not require much pressure to repair the edge, such as the Warthog V-Sharp Classic II system (Amazon link).
There are also a large number of electric sharpeners available on the market that will work to sharpen your stamped kitchen knives.
Ay of these methods can be employed to restore the edge on stamped knives and keep them sharp and ready to use in your kitchen.
TIP: A whetstone is a fairly popular means to get a razor-sharp edge on your knife blade. But whetstone can also be destroyed by improper use. Check the article below and avoid these mistakes!
Should You Buy Stamped Knives?
There is much debate in the culinary world as to the forged versus stamped kitchen knives, and mostly the choice will be determined by what you can afford.
Stamped knives will certainly be cheaper to buy, and you will be able to buy a full set for the price of a couple of forged Japanese kitchen knives.
However, the general consensus is that the harder steel that a forged knife offers will allow the knife to stay sharp for longer, and in some cases, a thicker, less flexible knife is an advantage for certain kitchen knives.
Because of the price discrepancy between these two types of knives, you will find that in most kitchens, there will be a mixture of these knives.
The largest portion of the knives will be stamped knives that are general purpose, but there will be a handful of quality, forged Japanese knives that are for a particular purpose.
Most chefs will use and abuse their stamped knives but will use their Japanese kitchen knives with a lot more care and almost a level of reverence.
This is probably a reflection of the difference in price that is paid between the two types of knives but remains true nonetheless.
Most chefs see quality forged kitchen knives as a status symbol in the kitchen and a mark of their experience and prowess to use have a full set of these knives.
BTW: If you want to know more about Japanese and other knives and their sharpening, check out the books listed above. These books are recommended by professional sharpeners and knife makers (Amazon links):
- Japanese Kitchen Knives: Essential Techniques and Recipes
- The Knifenerd Guide to Japanese Knives
- Knife: The Culture, Craft, and Cult of the Cook’s Knife
- Sharp: The Definitive Introduction to Knives, Sharpening, and Cutting Techniques, with Recipes from Great Chefs
Stamped knives have certainly made their mark, not only in the culinary world but also in home kitchens across the world.
Most of this popularity is price and availability-driven rather than performance-driven. There is nothing wrong with using stamped knives in your kitchen.
You may have to sharpen your knives a little more regularly than other knives, but they will serve their purpose and function.
Most people will use this type of knife their whole lives and never own a Japanese kitchen knife, but if you ever have the opportunity to use a quality forged knife, you will realize the difference immediately.
Stamped knives are may be a little more difficult to sharpen on a whetstone, but they are no more difficult to sharpen using other methods to keep them sharp.
For this reason, stamped knives are here to stay and will be the most widely used kitchen knives in most parts of the world.
TIP: Forged and stamped knives are two of the most common ways that modern knives are made. But did you know the difference between them? If not, in the article below you will find out!